The Lakers Want to Race? Seriously?




The plan is for Mike D’Antoni to be at Staples Center Friday night for his sort-of debut as Lakers coach, except watching the game against the Suns on TV, a concession to knee-replacement surgery.

D’Antoni will bring his signature up-tempo offense with him to L.A., which is great because his new boss, owner Jerry Buss, loves the Showtime vibe. It’s great because fans enjoy watching the speed game, and it’s great because Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant are already way ahead of the learning curve on the new playbook.

So Nash, Bryant, Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace, Dwight Howard, Steve Blake, Antawn Jamison and Jordan Hill are challenging the league to a race?

The league accepts. Immediately.

Of all the reasons to fear the Lakers, getting left in the dust is not among them. Howard is an athletic marvel of a center, to be sure, especially once he is fully recovered from back surgery. But this is not a roster that on the whole is built for the fast lane.

It’s not about being in condition — Bryant and Nash are historically good about staying in shape. It’s not about being mobile — Gasol has agility for a big man. It’s that there is more than a little doubt  that a veteran roster so lacking in athleticism is capable of playing fast.

“This is going to be very, very interesting,” one coach said.

“I’ll be curious to see how this works out,” a scout added.

D’Antoni, counter-punching at his introductory press conference Thursday:

“The advantage is if you have good players, it’ll work. If you have bad players, it doesn’t work. That would be anyone, but I’m really lucky to have Steve Nash, who’s done this. Every time June rolls around: ‘What about Steve Blake?’ I’ve been trying to get him for 10 years. We always tried to get him. I think he’s perfect for our system. (It) starts there with your smart players and I feel like you’re not going to outcoach every coach. Everybody is too prepared, everybody works too hard and you think I’m going to figure out something they haven’t figured out? You just don’t do that. Players eventually have to be accountable and win the game for you.”

And:

“Books, papers and articles are funny because they have that catch line: ‘Seven second or less.’ I don’t even know how that came about, but that’s OK. My whole philosophy is 24 seconds or less. I don’t care if it’s seven, 10 or 20 (seconds). You just have to get one good shot in those 24 seconds, and that’s what we’ll do. I’ll expect us to be a little bit more up tempo, not seven seconds. There’s no reason why there’s not a great flow, whether that’s 13 seconds or 20 seconds. I was talking with Steve (Nash): ‘You have the best team, so why not play the most possessions you can play if you’re the best defensively and offensively?’ Anytime possessions are cut down, then a bad call, a missed shot then you have a chance to lose. If we keep possessions up here, then statistically, we have a lot better chance to win. That’s what we’re going to try and do. Whatever comes out, it’s going to be an efficient offensive team and an efficient defensive team.”

Seven seconds or less became the label because it was the title of the 2007 book by Sports Illustrated’s Jack McCallum. It’s a catchphrase, not an literal description. Besides, there was a strong belief among the post-D’Antoni Suns that going up-tempo, after the brief detour in style with Terry Porter as coach for 51 games, helped Nash. More speed equaled less contact, less contact equaled fewer chances for injury. The Lakers welcome the same theory.

“To me,” Alvin Gentry said in 2010 after replacing Porter and restoring the D’Antoni look with Nash in Phoenix, “it’s a lot harder playing that way (with the emphasis on a half-court offense) than it is to be in the open court. It’s like a wide receiver. It’s a hell of a lot easier going and running post patterns than it is going over the middle catching it.”

Now we have to see if it will work with this roster.

30 Comments

  1. Joshua Greenfarb says:

    I know it’s still early, but the Lakers in the top ten in power rankings??? YAAHAHAHAHAHA!! There are 12 NBA teams with better win-loss records, yet this John Schuhmann (apparently a biased Laker fan) believes the Lakers are a top-ten NBA team??? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! If the playoffs started today, the Lakers would be what? 7th or 8th seed in either conference. I knew the Lakers’ chances of being a real playoff team were slim to nil. IF they make the playoffs, they will SQUEAK in there barely. If the Lakers hired Phil Jackson, this Schuhmann Laker fan probably would have voted the Lakers in the top five in the whoe NBA. YAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!! That’s a damn good joke, Mr. Schuhmann. Maybe we should quote Kobe Bryant: that’s “idiotic.” YAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Hey, Kobe said it. Not me. ROFLMAO!!!

  2. Who’s that guys posting the MVP ladder UP SIDE DOWN!!!!???? START WATCHING THE NBA INSTEAD OF THE strenth-leaning LEBRON J!!!

  3. dMb says:

    If D’Antonn could tune up the new Bench Mob or getting Sasha back to life add to this bench they would be in a shape before All star break. Run n Gun is a basic play in basketball these younger guys should take advantages on this occation. The Bench is the weak point of this team and age, But this could the strongest point too, if they can figure out how to use it.

  4. 16going417 says:

    I understand wanting show time back. That was some great basketball in the 80′s. However, after watching the last couple of games the Lakers do not have show time back. They have unorganized chaos and they are winning on pure talent. They scored 68 in the first half against Houston, but guess what; Houston scored 60 in the first half. Sooner or later the Lakers are going to run up against a team that can out run and out gun them (i.e. OKC or Miami).

    The Lakers offense is fine, but they really need to step it up on defense or the Buss family will find themselves only being able to watch this so called version of show time until the second round of the playoffs, if that, and then they will be going home AGAIN.

    Come on Lakers there is STILL work to do, don’t kid yourselves……..

  5. Popoy Di Maunat says:

    Nope??? They need to BEAT a good teams… LIKE…. MEMPHIS, SPURS,OKC,NYK,HEAT,CLIPPERS, CELTICS…. If they manage to do that, They might have a chance…. But until they do… They still a scrub team….

  6. cdubbb24 says:

    looking pretty good right now…

    GO LAKERS

  7. bossalvin says:

    u gotta be kidding me,u cannot even beat the Blazers

  8. Doubt the Heat and now Lakers??? give up people!! says:

    All these comments remind me exactly of the Miami Heat chatter two years ago.

    Regardless of age, coaching styles, chemistry, etc. the LA Lakers on paper are an all-star team with two superstars.

    On paper LA Lakers look like a great team and “should” do well with the names on the list.
    YES I KNOW THE GAME ISNT PLAYED ON PAPER so…….
    Until the season is completed no one honestly knows if they are going to win it or not and people are making way to many bald statements on why there coaching strategies, team cheistry and age won’t work.

    This is the NBA people. Don’t doubt any team with superstar caliber, because if you look back at championship history you will see superstar players in every single team.

    Regards,

    Common Sense

  9. James free languages says:

    Bring back show time for sure… D’Antonio is the guy to do it. These guys shoul be scoring 115 plus. And stopping teams to only score 90 -105 day game. Looking forward to see the lakers play the clippers and Brooklyn nets. Lets go lakers..

  10. Treck says:

    D’antoni’s plan will work, i dont know why people keep doubting this..honestly.. hiring d’antoni was a good move even though most of you think it was not. Just watch the games and enjoy Showtime alright, spend more time ‘liking’ your team than hating L.A.

  11. dMb says:

    I would like to see how they will run the Sneak N roll and breakfast play . How to manage the leg power of both SteveN and MaMBa.

  12. Mo says:

    Guys, here are a few reasons why hiring d’antoni was not a good move.
    1. Basketball lovers all over the world know that the game slows down, and defenses tighten up during the NBA playoffs. Running and gunning will just not work when it matters most for the lakers during the playoffs.
    2. D’antoni’s system has not worked for a team that has had Nash at the peak of his abilities (MVP twice). Why should it work now that Nash has a bad back, Kobe is 34 coming off injuries, etc?
    3. Mike Brown was partly fired because the lakers had no defensive intensity going back to preseason games. D’antoni is not known for in your face defensive mentality.
    4. D’antoni’s style of play fits better?? Really?? How can a basketball minded GM like kupchak make that kind of statement when he knows that Phil won 11 championships with VERY different rosters??? It’s not about D’antoni’s fit. It’s about hiring a guy who has done many times before with different players, different rules, different management, etc. that guy is Phil.

    Read my lips: the Lakers will not make it past the first round of the playoffs.

    • DJ3 says:

      The HEAT won in a run n gun system through the playoffs. It was less then the regular season, but it was still run n gun. If you have good enough and young enough players it can work. But not for L.A..

      • celtic533 says:

        the heat won because their shooters stepped up big time in the playoffs.With Lebron drawing defenders their shooters went wild.Oh and there were those refs i forgot about.

    • celtic533 says:

      thats a bit extreme.The Lakers on pure talent alone will definetly be in the second round and much further if the system works out.

  13. Patty says:

    I cannot understand why Kobi is going along with this new coach. It made no sense to hire Coach D’Antoni and I mean no sense at all.

    Kobi, you need to ask for a trade. You will NOT win your 6th championship with this hot headed coach.

  14. Joseph says:

    Pau will be gone if things don’t start out well. He’ll be traded for a power forward who can shoot 3′s and some additional athletic wing players.

  15. This might not be the right blog to ask but who comes up with the MVP ladder?? Because its getting pretty ridiculous.

  16. 80's Baller says:

    This won’t work and they know it.

  17. 'Wide Body' players. says:

    The Lakers, over the past few years, had an height advantage over other teams that they exploited to their advantage.

    I think they still do.

    Howard, Gasol, Hill and Sacre combined will give the Lakers a height advantage over most teams. I am not sure where the ‘speed advantage’ will come from … A system ?

    Reminds me to ask “Why did people say the Lakers bothered other teams with their ‘length’ – they have such long players ” ? Huh ???

    ‘Long Players’ makes me imagine players who are really wide-bodied. I am a little slow in the head – I admit.

  18. Fo Real says:

    Good luck L.A … You’ll need it

    I want you in the Finals v Miami so get it together

  19. Hm says:

    A race to the bottom of the standings.

  20. E-SY says:

    … in 2050 maybe…